"Walter Sickert: Prints" by Ruth Bromberg

Walter Sickert: Prints A Catalogue Raisonné Ruth Bromberg

Publication date:
11 Jul 2000
Paul Mellon Centre
312 pages:
490 b-w illus.

Walter Sickert (1860–1942) was possibly the most important and influential early modern British artist. He belonged to the generation that absorbed the modernity of late nineteenth-century French art into British painting and printmaking. His outstanding work as a printmaker has been largely overlooked and unexplored until now. This book and catalogue raisonné bring together for the first time the substantial body of 226 prints by Sickert, along with their numerous different states, many in rare or unique impressions, and it reveals the unorthodox and experimental techniques Sickert used frequently “in dialogue” with related paintings and drawings.

Ruth Bromberg describes here the subject matter and techniques for each print in relation to Sickert’s oeuvre. She also discusses the evolution of Sickert’s career in printmaking; the influences on his work of Whistler and Degas, whom Sickert knew; his working procedures; and his innovative techniques and style in engraving, etching, aquatint, soft-ground etching, and lithography. She explores the varied settings of his prints, which include early London and Dieppe street scenes, seascapes in Holland, and famous views of Venice, as well as those of the music hall (a lifelong passion), numerous portraits, and his controversial pictures of shabby interiors depicting nude prostitutes and clothed men.

Ruth Bromberg, an independent American scholar, lives in London, where she was director of Colnaghi’s print department from 1983 to 1986. She is the author of a catalogue raisonné, Canaletto’s Etchings, and a contributor to numerous exhibition catalogues.

 ?This book will be a splendid and necessary addition to the Sickert literature.??Wendy Baron, author of Sickert and coeditor of Sickert Paintings 

?The primary strengths of this study lie in Bromberg?s immense technical knowledge and print expertise, which are so clearly reflected throughout this richly detailed catalogue. . . . In painstakingly assembling this pictorial and documentary base, Bromberg provides the first opportunity for a full scale evaluation of Sickert?s prints, and thus, for a fuller reevaluation of the important role that this gifted artist played in the art and cultural history of early British modernism.??Albion

?A superb addition to both the literature on Sickert and printmaking in the second half of the 19th century in England.??Choice

?The beauty of this new work is the side notes that accompany the 510 reproductions of his etchings in various states. They include substantial and significant information about the technical aspects of the prints and their social and historical context. Glossary of technical terms; watermarks pertinent to Sickert?s work; summary of exhibits in which prints were shown; very good notes; selected, one-page bibliography. A superb addition to both the literature on Sickert and printmaking in the second half of the 19th century in England.??Choice

"He was his own man, was Walter. This biography, written with precision, insight and gusto, is well worthy of him."?Andy Barclay, Irish Times (Dublin)

?Bromberg?s purpose, to catalogue Sickert?s prints, has been brilliantly fulfilled. . . . Her scholarship will at last permit examination of Sickert?s complex aims and ideals with the whole range of his work at hand. . . . The book is beautifully designed. The quality of the illustrations is superb; the quantity?the product of Bromberg?s indefatigable energy?breath-taking. All are sensitively integrated with the text so that the catalogue as a whole is a joy to use. This book is a classic of its kind.??Wendy Baron, Print Quarterly

?Sickert represented a third way in British modernism?grittily urban and urbane, alert to class tensions and society secrets, cruelly witty. Bromberg?s book is a comprehensive survey of one aspect of his appealing art.??Christopher Benfey, The New York Times Book Review

?This is a scholarly, deeply researched and essential addition to the relatively meager shelf of books on a consistently undervalued artist, and it will surely be the last word on Sickert as an outstanding, prolific master printmaker.??Tom Rosenthal, Times Higher Education Supplement

?[This] is a book that has been needed for some time.??Matthew Sturgis, Times Literary Supplement

?Ruth Bromberg?s admirably researched catalogue raisonne . . . is very welcome. No fewer than 226 images testify to his fascination with etching, engraving, drypoint, lithography and mixed media. . . . Throughout this original and illuminating book, Tickner always places the artists? work in the widest possible context. . . . Throughout this fascinating book, Tickner shows a subtle and questioning awareness of what Lewis called ?this enormous, jangling, journalistic, fairy, desert of modern life.? But she never loses sight of art itself.??Richard Cork, Times of London

Named a Notable Book for 2000 by the New York Times Book Review

Selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 by Choice Magazine